One Monday morning this past April, everyone in our Dublin, New Hampshire, office came together in a conference room for what would be one of the most touching occasions I have known in my more than 40 years here. A few days earlier, the community church next door had filled for the memorial to Tim […]
By Mel Allen
Jun 28 2022
Tim ClarkPhoto Credit : courtesy of Yankee Publishing Inc.
One Monday morning this past April, everyone in our Dublin, New Hampshire, office came together in a conference room for what would be one of the most touching occasions I have known in my more than 40 years here. A few days earlier, the community church next door had filled for the memorial to Tim Clark, who had suffered a massive stroke in November and passed away with his family by his side. Tim was 71, and in his life he had touched and entertained countless readers of both Yankee and TheOld Farmer’s Almanac, and after many years here he left to become an English teacher at the public high school, where he was a legendary mentor and guiding light to hundreds of young people. As his son Joel said, “No kid was a lost cause to Dad.”
What made that Monday gathering special was that Tim’s wife, May, and his three grown children—Liza, Dan, and Joel—came to help dedicate Tim’s former office as the “Tim Clark Conference Room,” with the photo you see here hung on the wall. Tim inhaled history, and he would have enjoyed knowing that generations of employees to come will always see him looking on as they wrestle with whatever the media world may look like then.
His children shared memories of feeling that his office was a second home when they came here after school, a playground where words took flight on a page. At times that morning, the room rocked with laughter, and then when tears inevitably came, the shared warmth would have delighted Tim, whose writing could bring laughter, tears, delight, and astonishment—sometimes in one single story.
Tim and I were young together when we came to Yankee in the 1970s under the watch of our editor, Jud Hale. Jud loved story explorers—and no one fit that description more than Tim. Tim revered language, the way words played together in doggerel, the way they could move you, the way they could make you forget current troubles and lose yourself in a story.
Tim and I shared a strange common bond. Our mothers wished we worked for a real magazine, the kind they saw on city newsstands—in other words, a magazine that came out of a tall building in New York City, not a low-slung red building standing beside what then was a general store, in a village with not a single stoplight. We had another bond, too: the pride we felt knowing that out of this odd little building came one of the most unique, most loved publications anywhere. And we knew that likely nobody in the magazine world was having as much fun as we were.
After Tim passed, the editor of the local newspaper interviewed me about him. He asked what had been Tim’s most memorable story. That night, I photocopied pages and pages from Yankee’s index and dropped them off at his office. I wanted him to know why his question was impossible to answer. Tim was the most versatile and prolific writer I’ve ever known. It’s fair to say he was the most prolific in Yankee’s history.
And as a teacher, Tim left a profound legacy in the form of his students. Lauryn Welch, a young artist who lives in Brooklyn, posted this when she heard about his death: “Tim Clark, you taught me that reading and writing is an art form, not just a source of entertainment. I still write notes in books because of you.”
Once, after attending a funeral for a friend and teacher, Tim wrote an essay he called “A Teacher’s Funeral.” He quoted one of the teacher’s former students who said, “If you are struggling and need help, go to your professor and talk to him or her. If you are lucky enough to have a teacher like [this one], you might just get that one tip, that one insight that will make it easier to succeed. You might learn something you will remember for the rest of your life.” Tim ended the essay this way: “When my time comes, I hope somebody will be able to say that about me.”
Tim, they did. They did.
To read a selection of Tim Clark’s work, go to newengland.com/tim-clark. Beginning Educator, a collection of Tim’s columns about his adventures in teaching, has been published by Bauhan Publishing and the Clark family. It can be ordered at book retailers or via bauhanpublishing.com/shop.